Friday, 5 December 2014

REVIEW - CONCERNING VIOLENCE (GORAN OLSSON)


The evolution of film, and of individual filmmakers, continues as Goran Olsson develops a most convincing cinematic essay on decolonisation, and on the origins, practices and implications of violence in this process. Concerning Violence is a ferocious debate in and of itself, its ferocity not mitigated by but combining with a measured temperament in its thoughtful narration, spoken by singer and activist Lauryn Hill, from Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth. This potent combination produces a film that provokes both shock and deep consideration over its 78 minutes, its forthrightness and its intelligence impressing profoundly on the mind of the viewer. The film is not mere rumination, though - a contemporary prologue from Gayatri Chakravotry Spivak induces in one an appreciation of our current place within the history documented herein. The noted specificity of Olsson's excellently curated selection of historical footage manifests itself as universality, most robustly so in Fanon's text, which employed a direct universality that is rendered even more startling by the simplicity with which it fits Olsson's examples. He doesn't belabor his point, though, in connecting the dots between past and present, perhaps in the understanding that the perceptive viewer will be capable of divining that there are no dots, only a vast swathe of time, and of suffering of all different forms. And Fanon's immaculately accurate, ever-timely thesis, somehow still supposedly radical today despite the relevance it only gains as the years pass, offers support to Olsson's pessimistic lament and his infuriated plea for action, in its consciously immediate, present-tense structure. A debate for today, then; a debate of curious form, since its arguments are distinguished not by opinion, but by right and wrong.